Even with a schedule that doesn’t feature marquee teams, it won’t be easy for Fresno State to keep itself in the running for a high-profile BCS bowl.
After being ranked No. 17 in the initial BCS standings, the Bulldogs are in a prime position to reach their first “big-time bowl” in school history.
Of the 24 bowl games Fresno State has appeared in, its highest profile one was the 2005 Liberty Bowl. This year, with six games left and only one of them against a team that is currently over .500 (Wyoming), the Bulldogs have reason to believe they can win out, especially considering the performance of teams that were expected to be in contention for the national title.
But with no games scheduled against ranked opponents, Fresno State will have to continue to dominate defensively against teams that rush for more yards than the Bulldogs do. The Bulldogs have allowed opponents to gain 1078 yards rushing. Up next for them is San Diego State, which has gained 1133 yards on carries. After riding a three-game losing streak to open the season, the Aztecs were able to rebound for three straight wins, evening out their record at 3-3.
If the Bulldogs pull off a win this Saturday against San Diego State, they will be 7-0 for the first time since 1991. Head coach Tim DeRutyer told Robert Kuwada of the Fresno Bee that the Aztecs’ momentum would still be challenging because it’s a road game, “which is always tough.”
“Most non-BCS schools, one loss is going to knock you out, and our guys know that,” he said.
When they face Wyoming in three weeks, they’ll be up against a team that has so far carried for 1419 yards and passed for 2112.
And since their lead running back Marteze Waller (408 yards in 75 carries and four touchdowns) won’t be getting much action after spraining his right foot against the University of Nevada-Las Vegas last week, the Bulldogs will have to find a way to keep going offensively. They’re currently averaging 45.8 points per game and allowing 30.2.
It’s a good thing the Bulldogs have senior quarterback Derek Carr to fall back on. He’s passed for 23 touchdowns (second to Sean Mannion of Oregon State) and is sixth overall in passing yards (2276).